Position Player Stephen Drew
At the beginning of the month we thought there might be a question.
After all Miguel Montero was lighting it up long before Stephen Drew ever got to
Lancaster, and with the two of them in the lineup together the potential was
there for incredible stats up and down the order. But Montero would log
only 37 at bats in Lancaster in July, after earning a promotion to Double-A
Tennessee and despite some nice months from first baseman/third baseman Edgar Varela (.303 average, 15 runs scored), second baseman Danny Richar (.327
average, .535 slugging percentage), left fielder Alex Frazier (.674 slugging
percentage thanks to a team high nine homers), and center fielder Steve Garrabrants (.370 on base percentage and 27 runs scored) the clear choice for
player of the month was shortstop Stephen Drew.
Drew led the team in batting average (.393), slugging percentage (.726), and
RBI (28), was third in runs scored (22), second in home runs (7), walked more
than he struck out (22/18) and exactly half his 46 hits went for extra bases.
It was a dominant display from a player under the media and organizational
microscope, and proof positive that he was worth the almost one full year wait
it took to get him signed.
Drew was promoted to the Double-A Tennessee Smokies following an injury to
Jerry Gil, but he was headed there anyway, and all signs point to the fact that
he'll continue to excel there. Rumors are swirling that the Diamondbacks
are going to give Drew a shot at the bigs when rosters expand in September, and
it's hard not to think he's earned it.
Pitcher Matt Chico
To be perfectly honest, we never saw this coming. Matt Chico had a
miserable first half of the season in Double-A and it looked like the only thing
he was earning was the demotion to Hi-A Lancaster, but once here he's been
fantastic, and July showed why the Diamondbacks took a chance on the lefty.
It's easy to forget that this is Chico's first stint at Hi-A, because last
season he was so good in Lo-A South Bend that he skipped Lancaster altogether
and moved straight to Double-A.
Certainly there were things that Chico needed to work on, and apparently he
has figured some of them out. In July Chico was 3-0 with a Roger Clemens
like 1.82 ERA in six starts. He averaged just short of seven innings a
start and his control, which was his biggest problem in Tennessee, was
fantastic, allowing just 10 walks and striking out 39 in July. He never
allowed more than three earned in a single start in July and re-established
himself as a legit left handed pitching prospect.
Chico wasn't the only lefty impressing in Lancaster, as reliever Reuben Kerbs
allowed only five hits, and zero earned runs, in his 13 appearances, and Chico
wasn't the only starter to come on strong, as Garrett Mock went 4-1 with 32 Ks
in 38.2 innings pitched. What Chico did was keep guys off base (opponents
only hit .210 against him), throw strikes and dominate when the situation called
for it. It was Chico's best month in nearly a year, and gave the JetHawks
a boost even as they were losing Drew and Montero.